INDIANAPOLIS -- Robert Nkemdiche did his best on Friday to explain his bizarre December fall from a hotel room in Atlanta. The fall left him hospitalized and eventually charged with marijuana possession, but his answers during his press conference at the NFL Scouting Combine only left more questions.
Nkemdiche, the former Ole Miss defensive lineman, admitted he was drunk at the time of the fall, but denied that marijuana discovered in the hotel room by police belonged to him. He also said his Rebels teammate, Tunsil, was among those at the hotel room, but did not say whether the marijuana belonged to Tunsil.
"There were more people in my room. The hotel was under my name, and nobody wanted to take the fall," Nkemdiche said.
As for the fall itself, Nkemdiche said he's answered plenty of questions from NFL clubs about the incident.
"I told them the truth. It was a rash decision by me. Uncharacteristic and not who I am," said Nkemdiche, himself a presumptive first-round draft pick. "That's not what I stand for, that's not what my family stands for. It was embarrassing for me, my whole family, the whole Ole Miss family. (I told NFL teams) that's not the kind of player they're getting.
"I was drinking. I was drunk."
Nkemdiche denied he was under the influence of marijuana or any other drugs.
Yet, Nkemdiche's meeting with reporters took another bad turn when he said "the media has done a tarnish to my name," suggesting that perception about his character isn't of his own doing. Challenged on that by a follow-up question, Nkemdiche walked back the remark.
Not surprisingly, he said the majority of questions he's drawn from NFL clubs have been character-related. He was suspended for the Sugar Bowl after the incident.
Though Nkemdiche possesses prolific talent, character isn't the only question NFL clubs have about him. He was also inconsistent at times with his effort. NFL Media draft expert Mike Mayock has said Nkemdiche could have been considered for the No. 1 overall pick were it not for concerns about character and on-field consistency.
"There were times I didn't finish. Times I was lazy on some plays," Nkemdiche said.
NFL Media mock drafts project Nkemdiche to be chosen as early as No. 19 overall to the Buffalo Bills, or as late as No. 26 overall to the Seattle Seahawks. The Washington Redskins -- the team analyst Daniel Jeremiah currently projects as Nkemdiche's landing spot (No. 21 overall) -- were the first NFL club to conduct a formal interview with him at the combine.